We have been engaged in a war against drugs for 30 years. We're plainly losing it. We have not achieved very much progress. The same problems come round and round."
The UK is "plainly losing" the war on drugs - and may even be going backwards, Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke has said.
But he insisted he was personally opposed to decriminalisation and that the Government had "no intention whatever" of relaxing the law.
The Justice Secretary Ken Clarke the told BBC Radio4's PM programme it was right that senior politicians were put under "veryclose scrutiny" but he also said:
"There is a bit of a fashion at the moment, the media do tend to act as a bit of a pack and they are steadily working through my colleagues trying to find things to complain about.
Sayeeda (Warsi), I am astonished by some of the complaints against her. It really is pedantic, some of it."
The Justice Secretary Ken Clarke has launched a stinging attack on the media for acting like a "lynch mob" against Jeremy Hunt and Baroness Warsi.
He dismissed some of the allegations against the Conservative Party chairman as "downrightsilly" and "pedantic".
The comments came as David Cameron delivered a strong signal that Lady Warsi's job is safe despite ordering an investigation into her failure to declare business links.
The Prime Minister said he was "very happy" with the Conservative Party chairman's explanation after it emerged she took relative and business partner Abid Hussain on an official trip to Pakistan.
The oldest parliamentary trick is to start with a policy so outrageous that any crumb of comfort looks half-reasonable.
The protection of inquests is that crumb, but what if grieving families and other victims want to sue the military, intelligence or political establishment for abuses of power?
We've all seen fig leaves like 'judicial triggers' and 'exceptional circumstances' before. They give little comfort to the claimant locked out of court while Government lawyers play to an open goal in private with the judge.
We have consulted and listened to many critics of our original plans and have made substantial changes. Protecting the public cannot come at the expense of our historic freedoms. That principle is absolutely right and has guided the Government's response.
The Bill now ensures that no evidence given openly in court at the moment can be given in secret in future, and gives the judge the final decision about whether any evidence at all can be heard in closed session.
Only civil cases involving national security evidence will be affected. The proposals were never intended to apply to criminal cases.
Inquests will not be included in proposals to allow secret evidence to be heard in civil courts, the Justice Secretary said.
The Ministry of Justice is due to publish the Justice and Security Bill today, which includes rules on controversial proceedings to hear some evidence secretly.
The Bill will pave the way for sensitive intelligence to be heard in civil courts where national security is involved. It is understood that, in a climbdown from earlier proposals, the powers will not be extended to inquests.
I hope both sides show restraint, I deeply regret that someone appears to have been killed, obviously everybody is imploring them to keep down the level of violence, but I don't think the cancellation of the Grand Prix actually would make a very great deal of difference.
I don't think it's a matter for politicians in Britain to decide whether to or not. Essentially in the end it's up to Formula One and the people who the run the sport and the teams.
A purely Conservative Government would not be pressing ahead with reform of the House of Lords in this parliament, Justice Secretary Ken Clarke admitted today.
The existing House of Lords is a curious historical anomaly.
We are ready for democracy, I think. All three political parties were in favour of House of Lords reform in their last manifestos.
The Liberals probably have determined the timing. I think doing it now in this parliament has happened because the Liberals are anxious to get on with it.
Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke insists that Britain has steered through real reforms to the European Court of Human Rights.Read the full story ›